3. Don't listen and get defensive when your child wants to contribute to the family discussion. If you are going to invite your children to the meeting (which you should) and you are going to ask them to participate (which you should), then by all means, let them have their say without interruption. If you want your child to be seen and not heard, then please don't have a family meeting. If you can put your own defensiveness aside and listen carefully, I'm positive that you will learn something useful from your children during that meeting and beyond.
Kids are surprisingly realistic when we ask them which chores they think they should do or what the appropriate consequences might be for doing them. They may also tell you why they get upset with you or frustrated when you ask them to do things. Listen carefully, process what they are telling you, and then use that information to help your family run more smoothly. Allowing your child to come to the table, contribute appropriately, and have some say over their daily lives will keep them happier and more cooperative than they might otherwise be.
So think carefully before setting up that family meeting. Do you want to make some positive and useful changes to your family dynamics or do you want to decrease communication and increase dysfunction? The choice is yours as the leader of your family. Holding a productive meeting will have you feeling better about yourself and your children feeling better about being members of your family.
Lisa Kaplin is a life coach and psychologist at www.smartwomeninspiredlives.com. She is giving a free parenting teleclass in May entitled "Four Perfectly Legal Ways to Change Your Kids From Crabby, Troublemaking, and Unhelpful to Happy, Well-behaved, and Cooperative Before Summer Break Without the Use of a Cattle Prod." Here is the link to sign up: http://smartwomeninspiredlives.com/events/. You can also reach Lisa at Lisa@smartwomeninspiredlives.com.